Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Drive to Succeed

Online Courses Open Job Market for Two Rio Salado Graduates

Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital is hiring registered nurses, along with Banner Desert Medical Center and many other medical facilities throughout the Valley. While the current job market looks bleak for many job seekers, it is looking bright for registered nurses.

“Nursing is a field where there is still a large demand and many hospitals are hiring,” said Sue Adams, faculty chair of the Nursing program at Rio Salado College. “For some time now, we have been seeing a large influx of students applying for the nursing program. We also are seeing a large group of professionals advancing their education to re-career as nurses. The majority of our recent graduates are re-careering.”

Among Rio’s recent graduates are Thom Hudson and Mike Adams, two of the eight re-careering paramedics in the nursing program. Both Hudson and Adams found Rio Salado College a conducive fit to their busy lives as they juggled family, work and school while pursuing nursing degrees.

For Hudson, changing careers wasn’t something he planned to do. It was a decision he made as his family started to grow and he realized he wanted to spend more time with his wife and children.

“I decided to change careers for my family,” said Hudson. “Being a paramedic is tough on the family dynamic. I saw how it strained other paramedics’ family lives, and I didn’t want to go through that. I’m building on top of what I already have, and going on with my education to become a registered nurse seemed like a natural move.”

While finishing his education seemed like a natural move, Hudson was not sure if he could fit it into his schedule. Unlike the majority of his classmates, Hudson does not live in the Valley or even Maricopa County. He lives in Kearny, Ariz., which is approximately 80 miles southeast of Tempe in eastern Pinal County. With most college programs, Hudson would have had to drive to his classes and clinicals four days a week, but through Rio Salado was able to take advantage of online classes and cut down his traveling and time away from the family.

“Rio Salado’s program made continuing my education a reality,” said Hudson. “The online classes allowed me to take classes on my schedule, which gave me more time to spend with my wife and children. It also saved me a lot of money. It meant two less days of driving to classes and two less days in a motel room.”

Hudson’s classmate Mike Adams, of Prescott, Ariz. was in a similar position. Adams had a long drive from Yavapai County to his clinicals in the Valley, and said online classes were the best route for him.

“I work fulltime as a paramedic and Rio Salado offered the only program that fit into my life,” said Mike Adams. “If I couldn’t take online classes I would have to drive and rent a room four days a week. I honestly wouldn’t have been able to pursue this career change at a traditional school.” With online courses from Rio Salado, Tom Hudson and Mike Adams were able to follow a new career path where there are more employment opportunities.